ITOCHU Announces Collaboration with JBR in Collection Project for Household Mobile Phone Devices No Longer in Use

September 7, 2022

ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Keita Ishii, President & COO; hereinafter "ITOCHU") announced today that it has established a basic sales and purchase agreement with Japan Best Rescue System Co., Ltd. (headquartered in Nagoya, Aichi; Nobuhiro Sakakibara, President and CEO; hereinafter "JBR"), which provides services to help resolve life issues and support people’s daily lives, and started collaboration in the collection project for household mobile phone devices no longer in use ("treasure devices").*1

The number of treasure devices in Japan has been increasing year by year because of time-consuming data transfers and worries about personal information leaks. It is estimated that there are total 270 million devices as last year, with an estimated value of 3 trillion yen.*2 Utilizing treasure devices will not only energize the second-hand market but can also be expected to contribute to the SDGs as using second-hand devices has a greenhouse gas reduction effect of about 42%*3 and they contain rare metals that are only produced in small quantities.

JBR provides nationwide membership-based services to resolve life issues, including lockouts (door lock problems), plumbing, glass, and more. There are 4.27 million contracts for these services (as of June 2022). As one of the industry leaders that provides services to help solve problems in consumer life, JBR also helps solve problems with smartphones, PC and other electronic devices connected to information and communication networks, which are the fourth type of infrastructure following electricity, gas and water, in corporation with an associated company, Japan PC Service Co., Ltd. (hereinafter, "JPC"). JBR provides a wide range of services related to general products and realty.

Since its formation of a capital and business alliance with JBR in December 2021, ITOCHU has considered support of the expansion of JBR’s existing services and joint development of new services.
With the establishment of this basic sales and purchase agreement with JBR, the companies have begun collaboration in the collection project for treasure devices. More specifically, ITOCHU cooperates with collaboration partners of JBR and JPC to install the collection locations in a section of retail stores such as super markets and department stores, etc. and start valuation and buy-back/trade-in of treasure devices.
The collected devices are inspected and their data is deleted at a high-quality center run by the group company Belong Inc. (hereinafter "Belong"), which is engaged in the online distribution of second-hand mobile devices, and those devices are reused and recycling using our global distribution network.
ITOCHU initially begins collection at approximately 30 locations in the Kanto and Kansai regions and then expand the projects to other areas in Japan.
In the future, ITOCHU plan to consider the home collection of treasure devices utilizing JBR's services to resolve life issues, an area where it has an advantage, where staff quickly go to houses in trouble anywhere in Japan.

As the basic policies of its medium-term management plan, ITOCHU has set "Realizing business transformation by shifting to a market-oriented perspective" and "Enhancing our contribution to and engagement with the SDGs through business activities". Through this collection project of used mobile phone devices in cooperation with JBR, both companies will aim to contribute to the development of a sustainable society by way of effective use of our limited resources.

  • *1Treasure Device is a general name for mobile phone devices (smartphones and conventional mobile phones) that are no longer used and tucked away in places like the drawers of a desk at home. We call them "Treasure Devices" because we want to change them from unused objects lying at home to treasures of the planet. (Trademark application pending)
  • *2Source: The Total Value of Unused Mobile Phones (2021 edition), Katsuhiro Miyamoto, Emeritus Professor at Kansai University
  • *3Source: Calculated based on LCA analysis by the Sustainable Management Promotion Organization (SuMPO). Comparison of the GHG emissions of two new iPhone 11s used for two years each and one new iPhone 11 unit used for two years and then reused for two years after collection, inspection, and resale.